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Ocean Queen

textile necklace

If you want to stand out amidst the trendy then this textile choker is the perfect choice.

Six sturdy strands of wax fabric create a sculptural statement in terms of scale and concept.  I’ve been inspired by the neck adornments of  Africa (idzila) and Northern Thailand where neck elongation is or was practiced.   In some of these cultures, a long neck is seen as the ideal of beauty. In others it is seen as a sign of wealth, social status, and personal pride.

It’s a bold and powerful statement piece that holds it’s dramatic form but is also easy to wear as it is light despite its appearance and unlike the real idzila which are very heavy being made of metal!

Wonderful and globally recognised South African artist Esther Mhlangu still wears idzila rings and this website has fabulous images of her by Trevor Stuurman as well as a short video and beautifully presented information about the fascinating Ndebele culture.

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Black Stars Textile Choker

textile necklace, beaded choker

Textile necklace with a touch of magic

This striking little choker fastens at the back with an understated sterling silver clasp specially made by South African jeweller Amy Sinovich.  One of the problems creating quality products in South Africa is the limited supply of materials and components.  In this case I could only buy cheap clasps and they ruined the piece.  Amy quickly picked up on what I needed and created this perfect solution.  Take a look at her Instagram page to see the delicate and beautiful work she makes.

The limited but striking palette of red and black with a touch of blue is not out of the ordinary but the delicate hand embroidery and bead work embellishments add a touch of magic that sometimes goes unnoticed until revealed by closer inspection.

I’ve used black Dupioni silk and a contrasting red African wax fabric with hints of black.  The silk is a rarity in South Africa – you can no longer go into Cape Town fabric shops and buy some but have to order.  This is very problematic as I can no longer browse and carefully select and am forced to order in large quantities – but this is a problem for the future.  Sometimes the problems lead to exciting solutions and I’m sure I’ll find one!

An unusual bead

The seed beads I’ve used are the ones that are used by most bead artists in Africa and I believe they are made in Japan.  The focal bead is somewhat unusual.  I bought it a few years ago when we had access to a much greater variety of beads.  It is a glass lampwork bead made  in India.  A real beauty, probably produced in the 1970’s.

Easy to Wear

This piece is very light and extremely easy to wear.  It would look fabulous with denim and a teeshirt for very casual wear or with the ubiquitous little black dress.  Or simply let your imagination run free.